Root-knot nematodes transform vascular host cells into permanent feeding structures to withdraw nutrients from the host plant. Ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana can display large quantitative variation in susceptibility to the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita, which is thought to be independent of dominant major resistance genes. However, in an earlier genome-wide association study of the interaction between Arabidopsis and M. incognita we identified a quantitative trait locus harboring homologs of dominant resistance genes but with minor effect on susceptibility to the M. incognita population tested.
Here, we report on the characterization of two of these genes encoding the TIR-NB-LRR immune receptor DSC1 (DOMINANT SUPPRESSOR OF Camta 3 NUMBER 1) and the TIR-NB-LRR-WRKY-MAPx protein WRKY19 in nematode-infected Arabidopsis roots. Nematode infection studies and whole transcriptome analyses using the Arabidopsis mutants showed that DSC1 and WRKY19 co-regulate susceptibility of Arabidopsis to M. incognita.
Given the head-to-head orientation of DSC1 and WRKY19 in the Arabidopsis genome our data suggests that both genes may function as a TIR-NB-LRR immune receptor pair. Unlike other TIR-NB-LRR pairs involved in dominant disease resistance in plants, DSC1 and WRKY19 most likely regulate basal levels of immunity to root-knot nematodes.